And then I’m a test pilot.
I’m set inside this head, inside this helmet,
scrabbling at the panels,
trying to operate my hands.
Each time, lids blink a new rouge;
fingers sift a strange coiffure.
I feel my skull like a path in the dark –
buzzcut, pincurled, bald.
It is a strange brand of drag.
The skins I’ve pinned and bulldog-clipped to fit –
hermit crab in a soda can.
And when I’ve got it right I have to go.
The time I was a society heiress,
I almost had it cracked – the clutch,
the lung-smothering dress,
the infernal heel, toe, heel, toe,
when I leapt to a Texas vet, wrestling piglets.
And I was a professor, elbow-patched and sweaty;
a scribe; a night club dancer.
A drag racer; pitcher; several lovers – oh, boy.
The way I worked them. Each body
littered with instincts.
Each one tailored to the last to go.
I had to adapt. I had to be less myself.
I think about the leap home;
the heart I feel convulsing being my own.
I find the lever and the plane levels.
I wonder if I’d know.